Product Type: Rockstar Xbox 360 games
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Memories Of The 80's
Bully: Scholarship Edition (Xbox 360)
Member Name: spencer_hawken
Bully: Scholarship Edition (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Great fun game, allowing you to relive school days
Disadvantages: Glitches, and long game loads
After a 5 month wait from its original launch date and Bully: Scholarship Edition finally hits the shelves; and for me this is something I have been waiting on for a considerable time. You see I have my memories and those memories take me back to the 1980's nothing to do with being at school, but to my ZX Spectrum, and two computer games that in my mind were the best games ever made Skooldaze and Back To Skool. Both games allowed you to live the life of a schoolboy for a day, getting into trouble, beating up kids, and masterminding a major event. Bully sounded so similar from the description, I could not help but resist. The big question is was I pleased or disappointed by the game?
I was thrilled when my game turned up a week before release, but sadly working so did not get chance to sit down and review before the games launch. I nearly exploded however when I could not even get the cellophane of the box, well until I got a knife (kids at home get your parents to do this, but furthermore what are you doing playing a 15 certificate game?). Seriously though, what a pain normally I can get into a case with a pen, but this would not do. Once I opened the case and got the disc in things were much smoother sailing.
You play Jimmy Hopkins, a child so bad that he is sent to a boarding school known as Bullworth, a school that prides itself on the rehabilitation of disruptive kids. The story is fairly straight forward; carry out a series of tasks for different people and for own personal gain as well as pass all your exams at school.
Sadly you don't really get much joy from being a bully, normally you get grabbed by the ever vigilant prefects (unless your quick and hide). Hitting kids, or giving them wedgies does however give you a certain satisfaction regardless of the outcome. If you get caught the prefects steal your stuff and either send you on to class, put you in the headmasters office, or chuck you in your bedroom when your best bet is to go to bed.
Your missions vary from incredibly difficult to so easy you can practically do it with your eyes closed. There is no judgement in the allocation of these tasks though, usually with a game the tasks start easily and get harder as the game proceeds. Here they are kind of allocated off the cuff, some of the harder tasks I encountered near the start. Worse still the hard tasks suffer from glitches, the high detail and prolonged gameplay mean that its quite intense stuff three times after a 5 minute intense mission the game effectively crashed seconds before completion. I must add that on a fourth attempt I passed without issue. On the subject of glitching however there are further issues, people you need to communicate with often disappear or are no responsive as if they are not there, while they come back eventually this is quite annoying. I'm told that Xbox will shortly be sending out a patch to install via Xbox Live, but what if you don't have access to this service?
Before I move onto the positive I'll stick with the negative, there is one last moment of annoyance and this is in the loading screens. Move into a different room (with a closed door) or a different building and your left with loading screens, even if you're in the middle of an action packed task, this is really annoying and due to the alternating load time often ends you in trouble when you emerge from the loading screen either faster or slower than you expected.
There is no online gameplay, but there is a two player option should you have somebody to play with, sadly I'm far too grown up to even admit to playing games publically so I'll always be playing alone. I am however informed of future expansions available by download due towards the end of the year (at additional cost I must add).
Now onto the positive, the game is really good and highly addictive; my "I'm off to play on the Xbox love!" comment to my other half ended up with me returning four hours later to grumpy looks. Also during time off from work that intended hour spreads to an unbelievably long time. The game is made by Rockstar games who bring the successful Grand Theft Auto games to the various consoles, as a result the all too familiar freeplay mode comes into place, you can either play as you should, or go off and do your own thing. This is quite a nice touch because I personally enjoy being able to go off and do my own thing, like beating up little kids.
Romance weighs heavy on the schoolboys heart, this is a mixed sex school and there are a variety of young ladies around to try your luck on, from the school beauty queen, to the girl that nobody wants, but unsurprisingly wants you. But in order to seduce these ladies you'll need to make sure your looking as hot as you can be, and with a large increasing wardrobe this is easier than it sounds. You can walk round the dressed in a variety of outfits, including vest and tighty whities, though the purpose of that particular outfit eludes me.
Bully is also mildly educational, it has brain training style missions built in where you might have to dissect an animal, by first identifying organs. Or you might have to try and make a variety of words using a combination of letters. And for those into music, there is even a music class.
Detentions can be tedious with a rather pointless lawn mowing mission, as a way of paying for your crime; this gets harder but also more annoying as the game proceeds.
The graphics are good, the interactions with other characters need a certain amount of care, and personally I felt this was a further weakness. But ultimately this is an incredibly enjoyable console game that will last for a considerable time, it's one of those games that you might return to well after completion. Although it does not in my opinion match up to the memory of my ZX Spectrum favourites it offers a very good second, addictive, fun and with a wicked sense of humour.
Bully: Scholarship Edition is available now from play.com for £29.99
Summary: Schoolboy fun and games
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